Homily – September 12, 2021

Today’s gospel deals with a turning point in the apostles understanding of who and what Jesus of Nazareth was all about. Jesus wants to know, ’who do people say that I am? They tell him, some say John the Baptist, and others say Elijah and some believe you are one of the prophets.

But then Jesus asks another question; who do you say I am, who am I to you. You’ve walked with me, you’ve heard what I’ve taught, you’ve seen me give sight to the blind, make the cripple walk, and so, who do you say I am?

Peter answers for all of them; you are the Christ. You are the Messiah. Then Jesus throws cold water on Peter’s idea of the Christ. He tells them the Messiah must undergo great suffering, be rejected by the authorities and be put to death. And after three days be

Peter was stunned by all this and tried to talk Jesus out of this. This must never happen to you. Jesus had changed Simon’s’ name to Peter, the Rock and because Peter tried to talk Jesus out of all this destiny Jesus calls him Satan because Peter couldn’t let go of the mindset he grew up with; the Messiah will be a hero, a liberator of the people, not a disgraced criminal.

Jesus’ question to his disciples; who do you say I am, who am I to you should make us pause and ask ourselves ‘who do I really think, believe Jesus really is.

In a minute we’ll all say the Creed, our statement of faith. We’ll rattle off the words.. and in Jesus Christ our Lord who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried and on the third day rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Have we ever thought of the real meaning of these words? That Jesus endured his passion and death because he loved each man, woman and child in this church, at this Mass with a love we can’t imagine and then challenged each of us to have that same love for every man, woman and child who comes into our lives.

It boggles the mind. Maybe sometime during this day or during this week can we find the time to be still and search our hearts to answer Jesus’ question; who do you say I am, who am I to you?

We here today live on the other side of the resurrection. St. John reminds us that Jesus did many signs in the sight of his disciples that are not written in his book, but these are written so that we may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that through believing we may have like in his name.

Paul the Apostle reminds us who live on the other side of the Resurrection that Jesus is the love of God made visible, the love of God enfleshed and Paul spells out to us the ramifications of being a follower of Christ in the community of the Church.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we try to find the answer to Christ’s question; who do you say I am? Who am I to you?